Input Data Tool Icon

Input Data Tool

Version:
Current
Last modified: September 25, 2020

Use Input Data to add data to your workflow by connecting it to a file or database. 

Using wildcards to read multiple .csv files with the Hadoop Distributed File System will produce an error.

Configure the Tool 

The Input Data tool Configuration window has two sections: Connect a File or Database and Options. The Input Data tool has one input anchor and one output anchor that displays the results of your actions. Use the Join tool to join the results of an Input Data tool with the original data.

Connect a File or Database

With the Input Data tool on the canvas, follow these steps:

  1. In the Configuration window, select the Connect a File or Database dropdown.
  2. Designer displays the Data connections window. Configure your data connection using one of these: Recent, Saved, Files, Data Sources, or Gallery.
Recent

Recent connections contains recently configured files and data connections. You can select a recent connection or select Clear list to delete recent connections.

Saved

Select a Saved connection. To rename and edit your connections, use Manage Saved Connections.

Files

To connect to a file in a local or network directory, there are four options:

  • In File connections, select Select file to browse to a file.
  • Drag a file to File connections.
  • In All supported file types, select a file type extension to browse to a file of that type.
  • Close Data connections and drag a file directly onto the canvas.
Data Sources

Data Sources

Data sources displays supported and frequently used data sources.

  • Tools: If you select Quick connect for a tool you have not installed, a browser opens to the Alteryx gallery for you to download and install that tool. Read the instructions on the page carefully. Once the tool is installed, the Input Data tool changes on the canvas to the tool you selected from the Data sources tab.
  • Data sources: 
    • ODBC launches the ODBC connection window that displays a filtered list of DSNs on the system that use that particular driver.
    • OleDB launches the native Windows OleDB manager.
    • OCI launches the Native Oracle OCI connection manager. From here, select the Net Service Name as defined in your tnsnames.ora file that you want to use for this connection as well as the username and password credentials.
    • Bulk opens a special dialog allowing you set up a bulk connection for the selected connection type.
    • Quick connect: For SQL or Oracle Quick connect, you can either use a pre-existing saved connection or create a new saved connection. Refer to the following for details:
    • All other Quick connections use another tool.
Gallery

Gallery

Gallery displays each gallery and its URL that has been added on the local computer. A list below each gallery name contains the saved connections stored on the server you have access to.

Select + Gallery to add another gallery.

Select Multiple Files

In the file browse window, enter a wildcard as part of the file path.

Consider a case where you have multiple data files with...

  • The same number of fields where data types for each field are the same.
  • Similar names in the same directory.

Note

Multiple files are read using the wildcard format such as *.csv or 2019*.csv in a single Input Data tool, as long as the files all contain the same number of fields, where the data types for each field are the same. Designer sets the number of fields and the file types based on the first file read. Any subsequent files that do not match are skipped and a warning displays. It is not possible to control which file is read first when using a wildcard syntax like *.csv. It is up to the system which file is designated as the first.

Enter the file name that the multiple files have in common and add an * (asterisk) to substitute all subsequent characters or a ? to substitute one character. Include the file extension that is common to all files when you specify the file names.

Example 1

This path brings in every .csv file in the data\datafiles directory with a file name that begins with ABCD.

data\datafiles\ABCD*.csv

It would bring in ABCD_4.csv and ABCD_012.csv.

Example 2

This path brings in every .csv file contained within the data\datafiles directory with a file name that begins with ABCD_ + 1 character.

data\datafiles\ABCD_?.csv

Excel

On Select Excel Input, select one of the Excel inputs:

  • Select a sheet to choose from the sheets available in the Excel file.
    • Select a range (cells, rows, or columns): Optionally, select a range of cells, rows, or columns within the sheet.
  • Select a named range to choose from the named ranges available in the Excel file.
  • Import only the list of sheet names to create output with a single column containing sheet names as values. None of the related data is output when this option is selected.

If the Excel sheet that you select is open, an error message is displayed and you will not be able to proceed. Close the sheet, select the Refresh button in the Select Excel Input dialog, and finish the input process.

Gzip and Zip Files

See Gzip File Support and Zip File Support for more information.

When you select a .gz, .tgz or .zip file, the Select file type to extract window displays. Use the drop-down to select the type of files to use.

Select files: Check the box next to the file you want to extract.

To see all files in the Gzip or Zip file, including files that are not supported by Alteryx, select Other Files under Select file type to extract. Select a file type to Parse other files as.

Alteryx doesn't support Gzip and Zip files in Gallery.

Supported File Types
Alteryx Calgary .cydb
Alteryx Database .yxdb
Alteryx Spatial Zip .sz
Avro .avro
Comma Separated Values .csv
dBase .dbf
ESRI Personal GeoDatabase .mdb
ESRI Shapefile .shp
Extensible Markup Language .xml
Flat ASCII .flat
GIS .grc, .grd
Google Earth/Google Maps .kml
Gzip .gz, .tgz
IBM SPSS .sav
JSON .json
MapInfo Professional Interchange Format .mif
MapInfo Professional Table .tab
Microsoft Access 2000-2003 .mdb
Microsoft Access 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 .accdb
Microsoft Excel Binary .xlsb
Microsoft Excel 1997-2003 .xls
Microsoft Excel .xlsx
Microsoft Excel Macro-Enabled .xlsm
QlikView .qvx
SAS .sas7bdat
SQLite .sqlite
SRC Geography .geo
Text .txt, .asc
Zip .zip
Unknown File Types

Unknown file types include any other file types that Alteryx can't read natively. If you use an Input data tool to read an unknown file type, the Resolve File Type window displays with the following options:

  • Read it as a built in type: Select the file type that resembles the structure of your file.
  • Read it as a fixed width text file: When you select this option, you can assign columns by using a sliding ruler. See Flat file layout for more information on this option.
  • Read it as a delimited text file: Select this option if there is a single delimiter that signifies column breaks in your data. Select an appropriate delimiter type, and optionally select whether the First Row Contains Field Names in your data.

Options

Select file format options. Options vary based on the file or database to which you connect. See File Format Options.

Preview Data Layout

Preview the data layout in the Preview window. The data layout preview is limited to 100 records or fewer in wide files. If data contains 1500 columns, at least one record and up to two rows are displayed. To view all data, use a Browse tool.

Use Classic Mode

To use classic mode...

  1. Select Options > User Settings > Edit User Settings.
  2. On the Defaults tab, check the box Use classic mode for the Input/Output tool menu options.
  3. Select Save.
  4. Select the canvas or use the F5 keyboard shortcut to refresh.

You can now use the Input Data tool classic mode to select your files and data sources.

Convert an Output Data Tool to an Input Data Tool

You can convert an Output Data tool to an Input Data tool. 

  1. Right-click the Output Data tool you want to convert to an Input Data tool.
  2. Select Convert To Input Data.

The output data becomes the input data.

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